Plenty of pitchers view spring training as little more than a chore. Make it out healthy and then pitch for real when the games start to count. Ryan Dempster does not share this view.
The veteran right-hander made his Red Sox debut yesterday with two hitless innings, striking out two and allowing only one baserunner (on an error) in a 15-4 loss to the Cardinals.
Afterward, he made it clear that he has two goals.

“I’m going to try to shoot under par. That’s a big one,” Dempster said. “And I’m going to try to swim with a dolphin at some point.”
Oh, that’s right. Dempster is a noted jokester. He has serious goals, too, and they run counter to the whole just-get-my-work-in ethos espoused by many others.
“Our job during the season is to get outs,” Dempster said. “So why not practice that as much as we can? I’ve always taken that approach in spring training, whether I’m a young guy trying to work my way in, or a veteran guy. I practice trying to get outs. Those are guys you might face during the year, they might get traded, that’s an opportunity to learn.”
Dempster did everything he wanted yesterday, throwing 24 of his 33 pitches for strikes.
“It’s getting better,” Dempster said. “Just trying to work hard on the side. If you can throw a lot of quality strikes and make them earn their way on base . . . I’m not trying to throw it down the middle. I’m trying to throw the ball in a good spot, too.
“I remember times when I’d throw more balls off the backstop than in the catcher’s glove. I think it just comes with a little bit of experience. You feel more comfortable.”
As for the dolphin, Dempster never encountered one during his five years with the Marlins, though he does believe he swam with Snowflake, Jim Carrey’s co-star in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
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